A revised so-called “bailout” package is being readied for a Senate vote and subsequent action in the House. Action on this rescue package is urgently needed. Households across the nation are beginning to see the leading edge of the storm that is already roiling credit markets here and around the world. The sudden and dramatic drop in the value of retirement accounts after the House’s initial refusal to agree to the package was just one symptom of what is to come. Even more important, however, is the continued deterioration of the credit system. Without action, ordinary Americans will face the effects of a dramatic economic contraction, including sharp increases in unemployment.
Yuval Levin, Ethics and Public Policy Center, writing at National Review Online, “Two Weeks in the Sausage Factory“:
The Paulson plan was put on the table on September 20th. If this version of it passes on Friday, that would be 13 days later. That’s less than two weeks to consider, digest, revise, amend, and improve a presidential proposal and enact an astonishingly massive federal response to a largely unexpected enormous financial crisis. Anyone accustomed to seeing Congress in action ought to marvel at the efficiency of it all. It’s ugly, messy, rowdy, and nerve wracking, but this is what the process looks like when you speed up the film, not when everything falls apart. It looks likely that the final product will be significantly better and smarter than the original proposal, and the world has not burned down in the meantime. I think I would have voted against the original bill, but I think I’d vote for the revised one. It’s still awful, but I’m persuaded something of this sort is necessary, and the bill is very much improved—probably about as much as Republicans can reasonably expect when they’re the minority party in both houses.
Dean Barnett, Weekly Standard, “State of Play“:
Here’s what’s been lost in the debate while people on both the right and left have offered ignorant jeremiads about “bailing out Wall Street.” If the economy tilts into a deep recession or even a depression, it’s not the wealthy or even Barack Obama’s cherished middle class who will pay the deepest price. In any such circumstance, it’s the people on the economic margins who get hurt the most. The ones without a nest-egg and without a 401(k) are the ones who have no safety net when they lose their jobs and health insurance. If unemployment goes from 6 percent to 10 percent, it won’t be the investment bankers who start heating their homes at 56 degrees in January. Populist rhetoric is almost always misguided. That has never been more the case than over the past week.
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